Did you know you can make your own apple cider vinegar? Yes! See the differences of white vinegar vs apple cider vinegar, plus get this recipe to have on hand!
Yes, You Can Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar!
Unless you grew up with family members– such as grandparents– that made a lot of their own household products, you may not know that you can make your own apple cider vinegar (AVC). It’s actually easy to do! It does require some prep time, but it can save money in the long run.
There are quite a few reasons you may actually want to make your own AVC. For one, the distance to the store. We have many readers who live in rural areas and it’s not an easy task to run to the store whenever you run out of a certain condiment. Our favorite Organic Apple Cider (Bragg’s, with the “Mother) is only available in our larger grocery stores and of course health food grocers.
Then there is the cost. Bragg’s is always over $3 per bottle, which doesn’t sound like a lot when you only buy it once or twice a year. However, if you drink diluted ACV, or use it often in recipes, it can add up and be one more thing to fit into the budget. With food costs increasing, many consumers are looking for ways to make at home what they used to buy at the store without much of a thought.
The homemade version is made of apples, sugar, and water. These are allowed to ferment over time, producing the acetic acid we know as vinegar. Once the vinegar is ready, it can be strained and prepared for kitchen use.
White Vinegar Vs Apple Cider Vinegar
You might be thinking, why not just use white vinegar instead of ACV? There are several important differences!
- White vinegar is made by the fermentation of corn or grain alcohol rather than apples, and the process is different between the two products.
- White vinegar is clear in color, while ACV should be a shade of orange/peach.
- While white vinegar and ACV have similar acetic acid percentages in water, white vinegar has a stronger effect when cooking or baking.
- ACV is known around the holistic community as a remedy for many digestive issues. People often take a small amount, diluted in water and mixed with other flavors. White vinegar is not a substitute for ACV for this.
- ACV may be better for repelling insects. While both have a distinct smell that bugs do not like, ACV is known for being a good bug repellant.
- For cleaning purposes, you can use either. White vinegar has a lower pH which means it has more acid. This can be helpful in breaking down hard to clean surfaces around the house. Both have a pungent scent. Essential oils can help with the smell when using vinegar as a cleaner.
The big question is can they be substituted for one another? The answer is no! It’s always good to keep both on hand around the house. Vinegar is available at just about any store, and it’s one of the lowest cost things you can buy. If you’re looking for a way to make ACV, see the recipe below!
How to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re accustomed to canning and preserving, this recipe is an easy one! If you’re not familiar with preserving, don’t worry– prep is only about 5 minutes! The recipe also uses leftover apples, so it’s a great way to recycle/repurpose something that would be thrown away anyway. And, if you don’t like the results compared to store-bought ACV, there is no loss of money for ingredients. It’s a win win!
Making ACV is also an idea for an adult supervised science project. It’s one you can watch week to week, and note changes in a chart or graph. Just an idea if you’re starting this project for the first time. 🙂 Be sure if you’re making this around kids to label properly and store in a safe place to avoid accidental spills. If you ever spill ACV, everyone will know it!
The process starts with a large mason jar, paper towel, and coffee filter. You will need the mason jar ring or a sturdy rubber band to secure the coffee filter over the top (mouth) of the jar.
Use scraps from about 8 apples. Don’t buy a new bag of apples for this, since they are going to sit in the jar under water anyway. This is a great use for apples that are headed for the trash or compost! Variety does not matter. Cut your scraps down to fit into the jar, keeping cores and skins. You will then add your sugar and fill the jar to the top with water. Add the actual lid and give the jar a good shake to dissolve the sugar.
Preparing Your Mason Jar for Processing
Once the mixture is ready, remove the lid and place a coffee filter over the top. Secure with the ring or rubber band. Do not place a secure lid on the top!! It will eventually burst, leading to a giant mess.
The next part of the process is waiting. It will take two weeks so mark on your calendar. You can place your jar in a safe place at room temp, out of the way. Make sure it’s not somewhere that can be knocked over–especially by kiddos or pets! It does not matter if the jar is in the sun or dark, as long as it does remain at a steady temperature. Do not place on a window sill where it will get cold and hot.
At this point, it’s time to remove the apples and discard those. Keep the liquid, strain, and transfer back into your mason jar. Replace with a new coffee filter and return to letting it sit. It will need 4 more weeks to process. It’s best to stir your ACV often, so again you can mark on your calendar a reminder to stir the jar. Once every 2-3 days should be enough. Once it’s ready, place a lid on the ACV and store in the pantry. You can do one more strain if you feel like there are particles in the mixture. Label with date and what it is!
Canning Food Safety and More:
There’s no need to “can” the ACV with a traditional canning method. It should be shelf stable. If you notice any discoloration or mold, discard the entire jar immediately. Always use clean and dry mason jars without any rust on the lid. If the mixture was contaminated during processing (something spilled on it or a stray insect found it) definitely discard and start over. Ensure your coffee filter “lid” is secure to prevent contamination issues. The nice thing about this recipe is that it does not involve many steps, and you can also make more than one jar at at at time. Let us know how it works out for you! Thanks for reading!
- Scraps from about 8 apples (core and skins)
- 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated
- 16 oz mason jar
- water to fill to the top over the apples (not measured)
Divide your apples into small chunks.
Taking all of your apple scraps, stuff them in a mason jar.
Add your sugar.
Add water to your mason jar. Fill enough water to cover your apples and sugar, and fill
to the brim.
Add your lid to the mason jar. Shake well to fully incorporate the sugar with the apples
Once done, cover the mason jar with a paper towel, or my preference, a coffee filter.
Add only the mason jar ring, not the lid. The coffee filter/ paper towel will act as the lid.
Let this mixture soak for about 2 weeks at room temperature. Store the jar in a safe place. It does not have to be dark or light, but ensure it will not be bumped.
After two weeks, with a strainer, remove all the apple remnants, and keep only the liquid.
Discard the apples and transfer the liquid back to your mason jar.
Add back only coffee filter/ paper towel with the mason jar ring. You can add a fresh filter or towel if
the other got wet in the transferring process.
Leave it for another 4 weeks, stirring often, at least once every 2-3 days.
Once done, transfer to a covered bottle. You can strain one more time for small particles of apples. Store in your pantry with label and date.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g
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